Countless posts, podcasts and videos have been celebrating the contributions of women in the last four weeks. Sabal Group contributed a two-part interview recognizing three new solopreneurs. (Here’s part one. And here’s part two.) Looking back as I consider everything seen and shared, two unrelated things struck me as the perfect summation of where women stand today.

The Sisterhood is Real

In the course of our interviews with Morgan, Natalie and Natasha about launching their new companies, I was struck by their responses to the same question. When asked what surprised them the most about starting their company, each one was startled by how many women responded to their announcement posts on LinkedIn. The sheer amount of enthusiastic support the sisterhood offered was totally unexpected.

Each one mentioned a specific instance of another woman reaching out to offer professional support, an introduction to a new client or to reconnect years after having worked with them. If you’re a woman reading this, you’re likely nodding your head in agreement right now. You might be thinking, well, of course these women reached out, clicked on an emoji of support or DMed them. It’s what we do. Casseroles and condolence cards. Flowers for special occasions. Treats and field trips. Women have been doing this forever. 

Yes, I know there are men who do all of this too. And men did reach out to our three friends. But, let’s face it, the working sisterhood understands what it takes for a woman to succeed in business. 

Dressing for Success

Having 31 days set aside to celebrate women is often up for debate. But a recent LinkedIn post by a COO at a major agency caught my attention when he posted about how someone dresses for a job interview. I’m not naming him because this is not about shaming him for being honest about his experiences and perspective. He raised the question of whether or not “business attire” for interviews was still a thing because most of the people he interviewed within the past six months wore T-shirts. 

His post generated a lot of comments. But what I didn’t see in the comments was the question that haunted me. Was he talking about both men and women wearing leisure wear instead of business attire? Calling out T-shirts specifically felt very gendered. Yes, women wear them too, but generally not as a part of their work uniform. Even the phrase “business attire” is very gendered thanks to John Molloy’s 1975 book, Dress for Success. For those unfamiliar with it, it focused solely on men in the business world and how they should dress for success. The self-titled first wardrobe engineer prescribed the correct wardrobe for women in business a few years later. The legacy of sober power suits, knee-length skirts, floppy bows and discrete pearls is still with us today.

Women are 2.5 times more likely to experience the microaggression of unwelcome comments about their appearance. If they identify as LGBTQ or have a disability, they are 6+ times more likely to hear such comments. Clearly, clothing choices still matter.

The pay gap, promotion gap, C-suite gap and any other gap you can name are real. This is another reason why I believe sisterhood is such a powerful force. We get it. We experience it, and we’re fighting to overcome it.  Whether you wear a dress, T-shirt and jeans, or anything else to work, I’m here to support you.